Copthorne were drawn into Pool 3 for the IAPS this year, probably one of the toughest pools to be drawn into against some big prep and senior schools from both near and far. Matches were 5 minutes each way with a straight turn around, so there was little time to rest!

Copthorne’s first match was against Edgeborough, and Copthorne got stuck into the tournament straight away, having the first centre pass allowed them to score first and they had most of the possession in this game. They won their first match 5-2.

Copthorne’s second match was against Dulwich Prep and after securing the first centre pass again this got them off to a good start against what proved to be a strong opposition. Despite slightly more pressure in this match the girls held their nerves and won this match 4-2.

It was then onto Danes Hill for Copthorne’s third match. We knew that once again this was going to be a tough match but the U11s proved just how strong a team they could be and won this match 5-3. Copthorne’s fourth and fifth matches were against Hilden Oaks and Longacre but now the girls were thoroughly warmed up and they convincingly won these matches 6-1 and 10-1 with some fabulous shooting from Keira and Annabelle, although it was a whole team effort that contributed to these results!

The sixth match was against Royal Russell and was our toughest match in the pool with both teams going into the match having won all their prior matches, so it was all to play for! This was a close game with both teams fighting to the very end. We deserved a draw but Royal Russell just pipped us to the post to take this match 4-3.

Copthorne’s next match was against St. Andrews and once again this proved to be a tough match and despite being down at the half time turnover the U11s turned the game around and won the match 6-5, which was thoroughly deserved, but tense!

With the play offs in sight it was all to play for in the final matches and the U11s continued their fantastic teamwork and winning streak. They played St. Marys in their penultimate match winning 3-0 and in their final match they played Tormead also winning this match 5-3. It was to the play offs for the U11s!

When the results were in for the morning round robin despite the loss to Royal Russell because they had lost to Edgeborough who we had beaten earlier and they had drawn with Dulwich, it meant that we went through as the pool winners and automatically qualified for the quarter finals! We also had the second top goals scored in our group with 47 scored and also the second lowest goals against with only 21 goals conceded!

In the finals we found ourselves up against a tough school, City of London Freemans. It was a close match from start to finish with missed opportunities from both schools but the umpiring and luck didn’t go our way in this match and we lost 4-2. This was a shame as we were definitely the better team throughout the tournament, but that’s the way the game goes at times!

Copthorne then took on St. Hilary’s in their final match who were one of the slickest teams we had played in the tournament. The U11s were beginning to tire (which I’m not surprised after 90 minutes of netball) and this showed in this match. St Hilary’s took this final match.

Although very disappointing for the girls, as the top six schools went through, and the U11s finished in 7th place overall, out of 40 schools, this was a fantastic achievement today. They were also the only Sussex and local school to get through which was another fantastic achievement!

All of the U11s played fantastically well as individuals, but more importantly as a team; it was the whole team effort that contributed to the results today. I can not simply pick just one player to name after this tournament, as you all played some of the best netball I have seen in this age group since we last qualified (and the only time that we

qualified!) for the IAPS, 4 years ago!

So a huge well done to Keira, Gabi, Annabelle, Charlotte, Robin, Amreet and Ava (Zara too for scoring despite not being able to play due to an injury). Despite narrowly missing out on qualification, you should all go away with your heads held high after your performances, I am one very proud coach, you did yourselves and Copthorne proud

today! It was a great experience for you all and remember you never lose, you either win, or learn! Best of luck in your remaining matches girls and in the Pelican cup tournament on Monday, I have high hopes once again for you!